odi ut amatura et amo ut osura

In his account of youthful character, Aristotle attributes all its errors to excess and vehemence in love, hate, and everything else. At their peril, the young neglect of the maxim of Chilon: Μηδὲν ἄγαν, Ne quid nimis, “Never go to extremes”. (Rhetoric 1389b4-5; Diogenes Laertius, Vitae Philosophorum I.41.) And as he turns to the flaccid dispositions of old men, Aristotle observes that neither their love nor their hatred is strong; but, according to the precept of Bias, καὶ φιλοῦσιν ὡς μισήσοντες καὶ μισοῦσιν ὡς φιλήσοντες—“they love as if they would one day hate, and hate as if they would one day love”. (Rhetoric 1389b21-25; DL I.87.) Prudential anticipation of reversals in love and hatred emerged as an early modern adage. Thus Erasmus commends it in commenting upon “Ne quid nimis” in Adagia I.vi.96. Likewise, Juan Luis Vives writes on behalf of the “Anima Senis”: odi ut amatura et amo ut osura—“I hate as if one day I should love, and love as if one day I should hate”. More recently, Tancredo Neves, the hero of Brazilian Democratic Movement, is said to always have remembered the motto of Getúlio Vargas, his former patron, role model, and predecessor in election to the Brazilian Presidency: “I have never made an enemy whom I could not approach or a friend from whom I could not separate.”—“Não tenho inimigo de quem não possa me aproximar nem amigo de quem não possa me distanciar.” (Ronaldo Costa Couto, História indiscreta da ditadura e da abertura: Brasil: 1964-1985, Editora Record, 1999, p. 322.) Striving to dislodge a military dictatorship, Neves boasted during his Presidential campaign, that if he got 500 votes from his party, not even God would remove him from Presidency. He got the votes and was due to be sworn into office on the Ides of March in 1985. But a day before taking his Presidential oath, Neves fell gravely ill with a gastric tumor. Seven surgical bouts only served to aggravate his suffering. Neves died on 21 April 1985, the 193rd anniversary of execution and dismemberment of Tiradentes, the hero of Brazilian independence. Thus Tancredo Neves came to God after having slighted His will.

God’s will has swayed the fortunes of Jerusalem since 1095. A nominally secular state, Israel was founded upon the promise made by God to the descendants of Abraham. This promise is countermanded by the founding charter and ongoing policy of Hamas, which calls for the elimination of the Jewish state and worldwide extermination of Jews. And just as the Zionist project emerged in response to the political leverage of antisemitism, so Palestinian nationalism feeds off Jewish hegemony in the Holy Land. In more generic terms, Carl Schmitt cast the essence of the political as resting on the distinction between friend and enemy:

Der politische Feind nicht der Konkurrent oder der Gegner im allgemeinen. Feind ist auch nicht der private Gegner, den man unter Antipathiegefühlen haßt. Feind ist nur eine wenigstens eventuell, d.h. der realen Möglichkeit nach kämpfende Gesamtheit von Menschen, die einer ebensolchen Gesamtheit gegenübersteht. Feind ist nur der öffentliche Feind, weil alles, was auf eine solche Gesamtheit von Menschen, insbesondere auf ein ganzes Volk Bezug hat, dadurch öffentlich wird. Feind ist hostis, nicht inimicus im weiteren Sinne; πολέμιος, nicht ἐχθρός.
—Carl Schmitt, Der Begriff des Politischen: Text von 1932 mit einem Vorwort und drei Corollarien, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1963, p. 29
The enemy is not merely any competitor or just any partner of a conflict in general. He is also not the private adversary whom one hates. An enemy exists only when, at least potentially, one fighting collectivity of people confronts a similar collectivity. The enemy is solely the public enemy, because everything that has a relationship to such a collectivity of men, particularly to a whole nation, becomes public by virtue of such a relationship. The enemy is hostis, not inimicus in the broader sense; πολέμιος, not ἐχθρός.
—Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political, translated by George Schwab, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1996, p. 28

While Jewish nationalism emerged from the 1896 publication of Der Judenstaat by Theodor Herzl, its Palestinian counterpart originates in the 1948 dispossession of the Arab natives of the newborn Jewish state. In Aristotelian terms, their political predicament is rooted in the ardor of youth. Tancredo Neves was able to define his political mission in the terms of contingent animosities ungrounded in essential hostilities. No such definition is available to Israeli and Palestinian politicians, who continue to group their nations according to the friend and enemy antithesis. Thus the prospects of peace in the Middle East are foredoomed, as long as its neighboring and intermingled adversaries continue to regard each other as public enemies. There is as yet no basis for them to hate as if one day they should love. And for want of this basis, well-meaning Christian powers will meddle in vain.

Crossposted to [info]larvatus and [info]history.

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